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The rain garden outside the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County office in Riverhead. (Credit:Cornell Cooperative Extension courtesy photo)

Check off your environmentally friendly good deed this Earth Day by helping to plant a community rain garden in downtown Riverhead.

The Peconic Estuary Program and Riverhead Town will sponsor the event on the Peconic Riverfront at 10 a.m. on Earth Day, April 23. Volunteers are needed to help plant the garden along a strip of land located between Heidi Behr Way and the Peconic Riverfront parking lot. Participants are asked to bring their own gloves and gardening tools.

But what exactly is a rain garden, you ask?

Most rain gardens feature native plants that don’t require watering or fertilizers. They reduce the amount of runoff from parking lots, rooftops, and streets by acting as a barrier for the Peconic bays and river. They also provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators.


“It will collect runoff water and pollutants from motor oil before it runs into the river,” Sherryll Jones, outreach coordinator at Peconic Estuary Program, said of the Riverhead garden. “And it will beautify that area.”

Jones added that the plants will be salt resistant, as that area frequently floods during periods of heavy rain.

An added bonus? If you attend, you can learn how to plant a low-maintenance rain garden in your own backyard.

“We’ll be telling people how they can do this on smaller scale on their own properties,” Jones said.

For more info on installing green infrastructure, visit